Vincent cruises to pair of run-rule wins over Lindsay Lane to sweep first-round series

Published 10:15 am Saturday, April 20, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

VINCENT – To start off their path towards a return to the Class 2A state championship game, the Vincent Yellow Jackets had to beat the team that they had to defeat to reach that stage last year: the Lindsay Lane Christian Lions.

Vincent took care of business and earned a spot in the second round with an 11-1 game one win and 13-2 game two victory on Friday, April 19 at Vincent Middle High School.

After a one-two-three top of the first, a walk, hit batsman and Camden Cobb single loaded up the bases for Aiden Poe, and the pitcher hit into a fielder’s choice to score the opening run of the game. An error later in the play allowed another run to score and double up the lead.

Landon Archer forced another fielder’s choice that didn’t lead to an out, and Lucas Mims came home on the play to take the lead to three. Ray Albright followed that up with an RBI single to go up by four.

Lindsay Lane then claimed two strikeouts on the next three batters, but with the bases loaded, the Lions issued a walk to make the deficit 5-0 after one inning.

Poe then struck out the side in the top of the second. In the bottom of the frame, Albright hit a two-out RBI single to increase the lead to 6-0.

In the following inning, Ethan McEllrath started the inning with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball.

After Mattson Davis walked and Lindsay Lane made a pitching change, McEllrath stole home for the seventh run of the game. An error then put Casen Fields on base to put two runners on for Grayson Gulde.

Gulde stepped up to the plate and launched a three-run home run to right to take the lead up to 10-0 in the third.

The Lions got on the board in the top of the fourth off a fielder’s choice, but that would be its last run of the game.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fourth, Gulde grounded into a fielder’s choice that brought McEllrath home and put the Jackets back up by double digits.

Poe then struck out two of the four batters he faced in the top of the fifth to seal the 11-1 run-rule win. The junior ace earned the complete game win behind 12 strikeouts in five innings, allowing just one run, four hits and a walk in the process.

Gulde led the team in RBI with four in a 1-for-3 day that included his three-run home run. McEllrath finished the game 2-for-2 with two runs and Albright went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Vincent took that momentum into the second game of the series looking to finish off Lindsay Lane with Archer taking the mound.

Archer got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first to keep the game tied up going into the second. He then reached off a walk to start the second and a fielder’s choice put Albright on as well with no outs.

After Albright stole third, Aiden Gasaway hit a pop fly that led to an error and the first run of the game for the Jackets.

While that was the lone run of the inning, Vincent had a prime opportunity to increase that lead in the top of the third after Fields and Gulde walked to start the inning.

Cobb cleared the bases with an RBI triple on the next at-bat to take the lead to 3-0, and Poe made the lead four with an RBI single right after that.

Later in the inning with one on and one out, Gasaway brought Poe home off an RBI double and McEllrath followed that with an RBI ground out to put Vincent up six to end the third.

Archer then claimed three strikeouts and worked around an error to keep the Lions off the scoreboard.

Fields doubled to start off the fourth, and two batters later, he advanced to third off a passed ball and came home thanks to an RBI ground out by Cobb for the seventh run of the game.

That lead became eight in the top of the fifth when a one out double by Albright became another run thanks to a wild pitch followed by a Gasaway RBI single.

However, Lindsay Lane got on the board in a big way in the bottom half of the inning after a lead-off walk gave way to a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 8-2.

Vincent brushed the bomb off and rallied in the top of the sixth to seal the victory.

Davis reached second to start the inning thanks to a lead-off single and a stolen base, and he came home thanks to an RBI single from Fields.

With Fields on second after the throw, Gulde walked to put two on for Cobb, and the catcher scored Fields to hit double digits on the scoreboard.

Poe singled to keep the string of base-runners going, and on the first pitch after a pitching change, Archer hit an RBI double to plate a pair of runs and put the Jackets in run-rule territory for the second time of the day.

While the next batter got out, a passed ball allowed Poe to come home and increase the lead to 13-2 ahead of the bottom half of the frame.

Gulde came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth, and after a lead-off walk, he secured three straight outs to seal the 13-2 win and the series sweep to advance to the second round.

Archer took the win with nine strikeouts in five innings and worked his way around two runs, three hits and five walks to set up Vincent for the victory.

In addition to his dominance on the mound, Archer finished the second game a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run. Gasaway and Fields each went 2-for-3 with a walk as Gasaway also had two RBI and Fields had three runs and an RBI.

Cobb had a team-high four RBI in a 2-for-4 day with a run and Poe also went 2-for-3 along with scoring two runs and driving in one.

The Jackets will face Fyffe in the second round on April 26, with game three taking place April 27 if necessary.